Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day in China

Today I got a text from my students, "Hello Jen. Is today Thanksgiving Day?"

I knew Thanksgiving was coming up, but I had forgotten that it was today. Caitlin and I are going to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Saturday for a couple of our Chinese friends. Living in another country, it is easy to forget the specific day of a holiday. Since we don't actually get any of our holidays off, holidays turn into weekend celebrations.

Tonight, we decided to go out to eat to celebrate. We went to the all you can eat buffet that is 30 RMB ($5). They have plenty of dishes to choose from, cold vegetable salads, hot dishes, soups, hot pot, plus appetizers like popcorn, dried kiwi, cake with sprinkles. Also, you can drink all the beer you want.

It was a disappointing meal.

My favorite tastes of the evening were the lime juice, the hot coffee, and the 5 different types of green vegetables that I could cook in my hot pot of boiling broth.

Other volunteers are celebrating Thanksgiving together; however, we are FAR from other Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs). The closest volunteer is 8 hours on a grueling bus ride and the PCVs in Gansu aren't even celebrating Thanksgiving there which means we would have to travel even further. It isn't worth it to have two days of hard travel for one day of eating celebration.

It is all right. I don't mind. I have celebrated Thanksgiving in different ways depending on the country. In Guinea I rode 5 hours by bike to Labe to celebrate a feast with the Fouta PCVs in the Peace Corps regional house. It felt more like the Fourth of July than a winter holiday as we barbecued meat on the outside grill. In Burkina Faso, I rode 2 hours by bike to the neighboring city of Kaya to celebrate with some PCVs. We cooked in three different houses and even had a HUGE turkey. Now in China, with Caitlin's microwave sized oven and her two gas burners, we will cook a feast of delicious treats.

It does feel like the holiday season here though. It is cold.

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